The Psychological and Physical Effects of Vampirism
Vampirism. Vampires. Words that have floated through history and mythology for centuries. The concept has been exploited by Hollywood for years; it has been turned into everything monstrous, mystical, and romantic. This portrayal is strictly of the mythical vampire. However, for those who do not understand what the reality of vampirism is, the mythical sense greatly imposes itself on the mind. Everything from extreme abilities to remarkable age or wisdom has been imagined and believed.
This is inaccurate and feeds misconceptions. Vampirism is not a romantic condition. It is not a myriad of power and wealth and seduction. There are many problems that real vampires are faced with, and none of them are romantic or pleasing. My goal in this article is to explain what those problems are in detail, so that those who do not know can better understand.
The first question that needs to be answered is: What is real vampirism? The definition can be quite simple. Real vampirism is a condition where the individual has energy needs that most people in society do not suffer from. They obtain this energy through sanguine, psychic, or elemental techniques.
This energy need can create many problems for a vampire. A vampire is more sensitive to the energies around them and the need for that energy. This leads me to the first section of this discussion: The Psychological Effects of Vampirism. I am writing this article with the aid of a survey taken to gauge which conditions real vampires seem to suffer from.
The Psychological Effects of Vampirism
The most common form of psychological condition found among vampires is depression. Depression is a distortion of the mind’s perception of the self, and can stem from many things ranging from a chemical imbalance to insecurities brought on by outside forces. In the case of vampirism, the two simplest reasons would be lack of feeding or the effect of the energies around the vampire. Feelings of melancholy, self-criticism, insecurity, and self-worthlessness are predominant emotional states for those suffering from this condition.
- Major Depressive Disorder
Dysthymic Disorder (similar to major depressive but not as extreme)
- Double Depression
Seasonal Affective Disorder (Depression coming with certain times of the year)
- Bipolar Disorder (AKA Manic Depression)
Depression runs in a fairly discernable manner. Look at the diagram below:
As you can see, in the center there is a mark considered the normal, healthy state of the human mind. To the left is an area defined as Depression, and to the right there is an area defined as Mania.
When a person suffers from Major Depressive Disorder (MDD)–which is what most of us know as the general depression we talk about–a repetitive cycle emerges. The mind goes from its normal, healthy state and moves down to the deep depression end of the scale. A person suffering from this condition can remain in this depressive state anywhere from a few days to a few weeks. At the end of this period, the mind shifts back to the normal state. A period of time will go by and then the cycle will repeat itself in the same manner as before.
With Dysthymic Disorder, the mind runs in the cycle like with Major Depressive Disorder, except that the mind does not go as far into depression as it would with MDD. Like with the above, the mind will return to its normal state, then the cycle will repeat itself indefinitely if treatment is not sought.
Douple depression works like the other already-mentioned forms of depression, except that it can be more devestating due to the fact the individual is never at a normal state of mind. Instead, the mind is in a less-severe depressed state and will then fluxuate down to a deeper depressed state, and then cycling back. The normal, healthy state of the mind is never reached.
Bipolar Disorder aka Manic Depression, seems to be a more unstable condition,and according to the survey is less common among vampires. As a note, most medical researches believe this condition to be genetic. Referring to the diagram above, note that unlike how depression runs in a cycle, bipolar disorder doesn’t have that type of regulation. Whereas with depression the mind goes from a normal state to a depressed state and then back to normal, people who suffer from bipolar disorder can go from a normal state to either a depressed or manic state.
Mania is excitement that is manifested from mental and physical hyperactivity. It is a disorganization of behavior and an elevation of mood. It does not mean that a person will necessarily be happy, because the emotion that is elevated could be of a self-destructive nature. People suffering from this condition do not go through a state of depression and then go through an equal state of mania. There are times referred to as “mixed states” where a person can experience both mania and depression at the same time.
The cycles for bipolar are of uncertain lengths and are unpredictable. Some individuals can go weeks, months, or years without extreme mood fluxuations. This is termed euthymia (normal mood, the absence of mood elevation or depression).
The Psychological Effects of Vampirism
The next psychological condition, according to the survey, that many vampires listed is Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). Medically, ADHD is a common neurological disorder that begins in early childhood and can continue into adulthood. There are two sets of core symptoms that doctors associate with ADHD. They are:
- Hyperactivity and impulsivity: Pronounced difficulty in maintaining focused attention
Generally, ADHD symptoms must be present in an individual before the age of 7 and be present for at least six months in order for a person to be diagnosed with it. Also, the child must have six or more symptoms of the subtype to a degree that is maladaptive and inconsistent with development level. Also, there is growing evidence that ADHD is a genetically inherited disorder.I believe the reason that many vampires who have not been actually diagnosed with ADHD may believe they suffer from it is because of the similar effects over-feeding and empathic tendencies may have. When a vampire overfeeds, as noted from my own personal experience, there is a time of hyperactivity and inability to maintain focused attention. The same can occur when subconsciously picking up on the energies around a person. This may be why some people believe they suffer from the disorder. Without knowing an individual’s background, it would be difficult to say for certain.
- Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD): An individual with GAD cannot shake off their concerns. They are always anticipating disaster, and their lives are filled with excessive worry, agitation, and tension. Depending on the severity of the condition, anxiety of merely getting through the day is enough. They seem unable to relax, and may startle easier than other people. They may have trouble sleeping. An individual suffering from GAD may suffer from various physical side effects due to the stress and tension they are putting on their body. Women are twice more likely to suffer from GAD than men. Also, the risk for this disorder is highest between childhood and middleage (Robins LN, Regier DA, eds. Psychiatric disorders in America: the Epidemiologic Catchment Area Study. New York: The Free Press, 1991.). On a final note, it is also believed that genetics play a role in GAD.
- Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder: A condition based around those daily routines or thoughts that you feel you can’t stop or alter. Examples of obsessive-compulsive activities are counting things often, reviewing a check-list numerous times, or cleaning repeatedly when there is no need to do so. Men and women suffer equally from this disorder, and it usually appears in childhood, adolescence, or early adulthood (Robins LN, Regier DA, eds. Psychiatric disorders in America: the Epidemiologic Catchment Area Study. New York: The Free Press, 1991.)
- Social Anxiety Disorder: A person who suffers from “social phobia” is very uncomfortable in social situations. They may feel anxiety or have the sensation that they are being watched continuously. There is extreme self-consciousness involved and fear of social events.
This brings me to Section 2 of this discussion:
There were four physical conditions that were prominent in the survey. I am going to discuss each of them here.
- Photosensitivity: The first that vampires seem to suffer from is photosensitivity. This condition can be split into two separate categories visual photosensitivity and skin photosensitivity, though the two do seem to run together. It is considered a type of allergy. Photosensitivity basically means that the body is overly-sensitive to the sun. Those who suffer from photosensitivity may get migraines due to being exposed to the sun’s light. Many cannot stay in the sun for long periods of time without breaking out in a rash or burning. There are many drugs, foods, and cosmetics that may cause photosensitivity. For example, if a person uses medication for acne, it is advised that they do not venture into the sun for long periods of time due to the effects it may have on their skin. I cannot say how photosensitivity relates to vampirism, but I do believe it may be a factor. Not necessarily to an extreme degree, but I believe it highly probable that it does exist in some form in many vampires.
- Insomnia: The next physical condition that was common in the survey was insomnia. Most of us already know what this is: The inability to sleep. In relation to vampirism, I believe that this can also be attributed to over-feeding. As I was doing my research, I came across the fact that many vampires seem to have suffered from insomnia more frequently during the time they were awakening to their vampirism. I believe this is highly believable and makes much sense. When we are awakening, we do not have much control over the energies that we are taking in. We are more prone to over-feed, take more energy than we need. Insomnia could have occurred as a result. Even with control over how we feed, I believe that every vampire still over-feeds occasionally and may be faced with insomnia as a result. In another sense, those who suffer from psychological illnesses may suffer from insomnia as a direct result of those conditions, as it is attributed to several anxiety disorders.
- Fatigue: Fatigue would be the exact opposite of the above discussion. Fatigue is excessive weariness or exhaustion. Many vampires suffer from this when they do not feed, or do not obtain enough energy through their feeding methods. From my own personal experience it is akin to trying to walk through water. Everything seems slow and harder to do, even the simplest of tasks. Fatigue is also present as a physical effect of depression.
- Anemia: Many on the survey listed that they have iron deficiency anemia. Basically, iron deficiency anemia is a decrease of red cells in the blood caused by too little iron. This is caused by natural things such as poor diet, or poor absorption of iron into the body. Women may suffer from it due to blood loss during menstrual bleeding. Women have smaller stores of iron to begin with, and then have their monthly cycle, making them more susceptible to developing anemia than men. Men who suffer from it may have developed it due to ulcers or the use of aspirin. (National Library of Medicine).Symptoms of anemia include pale skin color, shortness of breath, fatigue, irritability, and decreased appetite. There are more as listed by the National Library of Medicine, but I have chosen only to list a few.
Vampirism is not a walk in the park. It is a condition that we must live with daily and cope with, as well as adjust to. I hope that I have given a better understanding of the conditions that were chosen on the survey. I have enjoyed writing this article and hope that it may benefit those who read it. Welcome to the world of real vampirism.
Note: Article first contributed and published on Darkness Embraced in 2003. © Copyright 2003 -2011 by Anajiel. Not to be reduplicated or redistributed (this means copying and pasting the article to another web site) without explicit consent from the owner!